Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania REVIEW: A Light Space Opera à la Marvel
Paul Rudd returns to fill the big shoes of Marvel's smallest superhero, Ant-Man, in his third solo movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. This film also marks the main introduction of the MCU's next big baddie, Kang, who is played by Jonathan Majors. For that reason, there has been a lot of anticipation about this movie after a somewhat uneven Phase 4 that wasn't as successful & cohesive as the previous standards set by Marvel. I've always enjoyed the Ant-Man films for their lighthearted nature and fun sense of spectacle, but I was feeling a bit of MCU fatigue going into this movie. Despite not being a complete success, I left the movie with renewed interest in the main storyline. Quantumania is overall a decent start for Phase 5 and it seems like we are going in the right direction.
This review contains no spoilers.
Synopsis: "Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne, along with Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, explore the Quantum Realm, where they interact with strange creatures and embark on an adventure that goes beyond the limits of what they thought was possible."
"Quantumania" is a light & psychedelic space opera à la Marvel that starts Phase 5 on a mostly good note while keeping the spirit of the previous Ant-Man films. The introduction of Kang shifts the movie in full gear and doesn't disappoint thanks to Jonathan Majors. It takes a bit of time to get going and it took me some time to connect with the film, but once Kang arrives, it doesn't let go. I was pleased to see that Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer also had a lot to offer in this film. I'm always happy to see that their star is still shining bright.
Jonathan Majors is having the time of his life right now, and his stock continues to rise in Hollywood after receiving stellar reviews for his performance in the upcoming film "Magazine Dreams" and his role as the antagonist in "Creed III". He is introduced as a big threat in "Quantumania," as a man who has conquered space, time, and multiple worlds. This is going to be game-changing for the future of the MCU, and this is why he has a lot to carry on his shoulders as an actor. The good news is that he nailed it, and without getting into any details, people are going to be surprised when they meet him on the big screen.
The movie juggles between being a weird and quirky sci-fi psychedelic adventure through the Marvel cosmos, and a more serious challenge for Scott Lang, which can sometimes play against its favor. I've seen a lot of Star Wars comparaisons and they are legitimate. When it ended I was talking with my fellow critic/friend Shaurya Chawla and I said: "This felt like the Star Wars prequels to me". Take that as you will, but I don't mean it in a bad way necessarily. The problems with the Star Wars prequels is that they were sometimes too ambitious for their own good and I can see some of that in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
I'm giving it high praise for the special effects and the visual spectacle. It involves a plethora of kaleidoscopic sequences with bright colors and a high attention to details. I was able to catch the film in IMAX, but I did not see it in 3D and I'm curious how this will play out because it might improve the experience. I have a major complaint about the CGI, involving a beloved character that I won't mention in case you haven't seen it. This didn't really work for me, but the more I think about it, the more it falls into the "so bad it's good" category.
The first two Ant-Man films were described as palate-cleansing heist movies, but this one is a different breed of film. Despite still maintaining the energy and sense of humor that Paul Rudd is known for, the presence of Kang brings a different dimension. The chemistry between Scott and his daughter Cassie has always been a central piece of those films and Kathryn Newton did a good job taking over the role for her first time. I don't know if this beats the first Ant-Man in my book but it's a perfect companion to the previous two films to close the trilogy. I don't need to tell you to stick around until the end, both end-credit sequences were quite important and are part of the reason why I'm excited for the future.
Initial Score: 7/10
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania opens in theaters on February 17th